Life is a Gamble
The Toronto Blue Jays just extended J.A. Happ, and the St. Louis Cardinals just extended Adam Wainwright. Both moves appear to be premised on the ideas that (1) Happ and Wainwright will have solid seasons in 2013 and (2) their current teams will want to retain them when they do. Could be a lot of wishful thinking.
Happ will be 31 in 2014 and is a starter who has never thrown more than 166 innings pitched in a season. Somehow it seems telling that mlbtraderumors.com reports the extension with a photograph of Happ apparently short-arming a pitch for Blue Jays.
Adam Wainwright will be 32 years old in 2014, and, after missing all of 2011 to Tommy John surgery, he came back in 2012 with a 3.94 ERA, far and away the highest of his career. That said, right now Wainwright can still pitch. But is he worth $97.5 million from 2014 through 2018?
Yes, if he can stay healthy at least through 2017. That seems like a mighty big if.
I take two things from these contract extensions: (1) teams are flush with money; and (2) starting pitching is very highly valued as we enter the 2013 season. Can’t help but think that’s the lesson MLB is taking from two Giants’ World Championships the last three seasons.